Every other year the Tokay Stitch ‘n Quilt Guild of Lodi, California, put on a delightful show. While I was there I was so happy to see guild member Thelma Welch once again. Two years ago I blogged about her unbelievable Baltimore Album quilt, and at about 85 years of age, Thelma is still at it. Look at this elephant quilt that is one of her latest creations.



The show’s featured quilter was Fran Schmidt. Here’s Miss Fran in her sparkly sash denoting her status.


We made her put on the tiara too.


Here’s one of her many wonderful quilts that were part of the featured display.


As usually happens at a show, I made some new vendor friends. Across the hall from me I discovered the elegant appliqué designs of Bobbie Y. Jarrett.




That’s some eye candy for us appliqué enthusiasts, no?

Right next door to me were two fantastic ladies who are just starting out on this designing adventure, and IMO they’ve got “it.” Meet Rita Traxler and Debbie Holland of Lady Bug Lace.

Rita and Debbie

Rita and Debbie


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


Last month I had the privilege of taking a class in Hawaiian appliqué from Maui resident Keri Duke.

Keri was here for Pacific International Quilt Festival and came a week early to give a workshop for our guild. She’s snorkeling buddies with our program chair Tracey Brookshier so yay for us!

It was a beautiful day and a great location for a workshop. We were making a traditional breadfruit (ulu) appliqué. As Keri told us, this is usually the first pattern made by a quilter because it is supposed to bring fruitfulness and good luck in life.


Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.

Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.


My big basting stitches. I was the first one done basting; some spent the whole morning just basting, using little bitty precise running stitches instead of big honking toenail catchers. Not necessary, gals. Just throw ’em in there.


Some of the class members chose other colors for their projects.


It looks good any which way you do it.

After the entire dark-green leaf motif was basted, we did traditional needle-turn hand appliqué. I’m a fast stitcher (well, you know, it isn’t my first rodeo) and I had my block all done for Show & Tell at quilt guild the next night. This type of Hawaiian appliqué is about the most fun, I think. Once you get it all prepped, you just sit and stitch and stitch to your heart’s content.

uluMy Ulu.

The following week was PIQF.


The crowd waiting to get in on Thursday morning.

Once I made it inside the doors, I chatted with Keri in her Keri Designs booth, and I was delighted to learn that she and another quilter had curated a special “Colors of Maui” exhibit for the show!


hibiscusThis hibiscus was my favorite entry, and come to find out, it was Keri’s!


If you’d like to go on a tropical tour of the Colors of Maui, there’s a lovely slideshow posted over at The Quilt Show. Enjoy!

By Kay Mackenzie

I recently received the Versatile Blogger award from a fellow blogger who enjoys my blog.


How very cool! I certainly appreciate receiving an award of any type!

What does it mean? I asked myself.

I Googled the term and found Versatile Quilter awards all over the internet, and not just among quilting blogs. You name it, this award is going around it, and I couldn’t find out who started it.

Not knowing its provenance, I’m choosing not to pass the award along, which would involve telling you seven things about myself and presenting the award to other blogs that I read. However, I will tell you about one blog that you may find of interest. Did you know that Checker Distributors publishes a blog? Called the Checker Newsletter, it’s mostly written by Penny Haren, author of the Pieced Appliqué series of books. Penny’s not a Checker employee but works with them a lot in the industry. The blog highlights all the brand-new things that are coming onto the market… very interesting!

The fellow appliqué enthusiast who sent me the award is Erin Russek, who writes a pretty darn versatile and attractive blog herself. Thank you Erin!

Erin’s blog is One Piece at a Time and she does lovely, lovely work. Not only that, she has posted several appliqué tutorials that you’ll find of interest.

Well, I still don’t know who started the Versatile Blogger award, but the way I interpret it is that Erin finds my blog worthwhile, so I’ll take it and run! :) Thank you so much again Erin! Your original designs are gorgeous.

Miss Kelly-web

Here’s Erin’s “Miss Kelly.” It’s the center block for her 2011 BOM called “My Tweets”. There will be a free small pattern every month so be sure to check it out on Erin’s blog.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

One of the most amazing women I know is fellow Santa Cruz quilter and fabric designer ellen edith. She makes story quilts about the many wacky and also meaningful things that have happened in her life. These quilts are so full of color, life, verve, and a million other energetic words. It’s a style I greatly admire.

Recently ellen sent out photos of her latest quilt, First Date.


I just finished a new story quilt celebrating the day I met Larry. I want to share the finished quilt, story and a few close-up details with you:


My first date with Larry was bicycling to the monarch butterfly preserve. He was so cute & I was so nervous I was yacking away. He finally said “If you would lie down & be quiet the butterflies might land on you!” Right then I knew I could relax & be myself around him. We have had 15 wonderful years.


I painted his favorite shirt with dog paw prints & the motto “Down Boy Down!”


I used some of my own butterfly fabric, dressed myself in bright colors & added a vintage pin as a hair ornament.

Santa Cruz is in the migratory path of the Monarch Butterfly. Each fall we look forward to their visit. I can just picture this lovely scene at Natural Bridges State Park.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I’ve long been an advocate of finding your own method of appliqué, one that’s right for you and gives you results you like. That’s not the same for everyone, and I believe there’s no right and no wrong way, only what pleases you. When quilters stop by my booth at shows and make faces at the “A” word, I tell them they just haven’t found their method.

So I was delighted to take note of a new book by Laurel Anderson called Appliqué Workshop: Mix and Match 10 Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity!


Here’s some information straight from the author herself.

Laurel Anderson:

I wrote this book with the idea that everyone has different design needs and different technique requirements.

The quilter who wants to occupy her time while on a fishing boat or in a doctor’s waiting room will be more interested in hand appliqué or cutting out fused shapes for three-dimensional or fused appliqué. The mother of four with limited time may be delighted with the speed of machine appliqué or the raw-edge technique. The artist who wants creative freedom may mix many methods into one piece of fiber art.

The techniques in the book are grouped into turned-edge, raw-edge and needle-turn appliqué. Each technique has a summery of its best uses. For instance: the Turned Edge with Starch or Glue makes very sharp points on leaves or petals. The 3D Broderie Perse method makes fast and easy daisy petal shapes for wall hangings. It is easier to be creative if you have your choice of many design tools.

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

The book offers ten appliqué methods, two edge-finishing facings, and several different template ideas. As a bonus, there’s a section on color and a chapter on dying fabric for flower quilts. The pullout section gives six full-size, ready-to-use patterns. The instructions teach several techniques for each pattern. If you make them all you will have tried all the techniques!

The book is available from Laurel’s website, Whisper Color. Laurel says to be sure to send her a message in an email telling her who to sign to book to. (There’s a Contact button on the website.) And while you’re on the site, check out the 100% bamboo batting and Laurel’s latest stand-alone pattern, Winter Amaryllis.

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Isn’t this gorgeous?

Thank you, Laurel, for telling us about your exciting new book. I’ll be directing those face-makers to it!!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I have to say that I’m just a flat appliqué girl myself. But I truly appreciate dimensional appliqué and our book look for August is a fantastic celebration of floral forms that stand up and sing!


More Fabulous Flowers: Mini-Quilts in Dimensional Appliqué by Sharon K. Baker gives a ton of information on how to make faced, double-fused, prairie-point, double-folded prairie-point, ruched, strip-pieced, and yo-yo leaves and flowers. The detailed, illustrated instructions in the book go soup-to-nuts, from fabrics and supplies to pre-quilting the background to making stems to constructing all those luscious leaves and petals to embellishing them with beads and yarns to finishing the darling mini-quilts.


The book includes 20 little quilt projects to spark your imagination, and you can go anywhere from there. “The designs in this book are like ingredients in a recipe,” says Sharon. “Combine the ingredients as you like to whip up your own special creation. Use the flowers to embellish quilts or wearable art, or simply wear then as decorative pins on clothing. Combine the flowers, explore your own creativity and style, and create a peaceful garden for the mind and soul.”

Many thanks once again to Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place for providing a copy of More Fabulous Flowers for a lucky reader. If you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, August 9. U.S. and Canada only due to the cost of postage.

Those subscribed by email, remember, don’t reply to the email to leave a comment. Instead, click over to the blog itself. The comments link is at the bottom of the post.

Good luck!
Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Jennifer Rounds, co-author of A Dozen Roses (our featured book last month), was delighted to read the wonderful comments about the book. She sent me a premium to offer to one of my readers who already has the book (or who has definite plans to acquire it).


Her pattern “Rose Wreath” is a spinoff of the coverlet project from A Dozen Roses that we were all slavering over. The instructions in the book are the foundation for the pattern’s how-to’s so Jennifer says that it’s better to be familiar with the process in order to complete the project.

If you are already the proud owner of the book (and yes, Barbara you’re eligible :) ), leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Thursday, August 5, for a chance to win this beautiful pattern.

The pattern is available at Rosie Quilters.

Next time, a look at More Fabulous Flowers: Mini-Quilts in Dimensional Appliqué by Sharon Baker.

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

Pup Art by Nancy S. Brown A couple years ago I put up a post about Pup Art, one of Nancy Brown’s quilts.

The Quilt Show has posted a whole slideshow of Nancy’s work. OMG you have got to go and see this. It will make you smile.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

P.S. I’m headed to Long Beach tomorrow for the summer edition of International Quilt Festival. Hope to see some of you there!

I was just in Reno, Nevada for the Quilting, Stitches and Crafts Expo at the Grand Sierra Resort. As I was touring the show floor, I was drawn with a strong magnetic attraction to this gorgeous Princess Feather quilt.


It’s the 2011 Opportunity Quilt for the Foothill Quilters Guild of Auburn, California. They call it “Prince’s Plume.”



Many hands went into the making of this beautiful quilt.


For more information about the guild or this amazing opportunity quilt, contact the Foothill Quilters through their website, www.foothillquilters.org.

I made a new friend at the show! Knitting designer Lorna Miser, author of Faith, Love, Hope, Knitting was just across the aisle from me.

Lorna Miser

Lorna Miser

She had luscious loops, skeins, and twists of hand-dyed yarns, as well as cute knitted items like bags and footie socks.

Lorna has a new book coming out in November, The Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn.


My neighbor to the left was an old friend, Dee Lampson of Dee’s Designs. From her I purchased The Most Cute Jumper in the World.



This one had me written all over it. Dee makes jumpers, overalls, separates, and two-piece outfits from her own original patterns, using beautiful high-quality fabrics like we see in our independent quilt shops. Look for Dee at fine art and gift shows, quilting and sewing expos. She specializes in custom sizing, no size is too small or too large. Contact her at “deesdesigns1 (at) sbcglocal.net” if you need one of her designs.


I can’t tell you what a delight it is to see Dee’s creations after all the dreadful things that are offered to us at the mall.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Holly Mabutas blog header

Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics just posted an adorable free Santa pattern on her blog Sprinkles of Thought.

Like all of Holly’s artwork, the pattern’s special and wonderful. Be sure to take a look at all the quilt patterns and rubber stamps at Eat Cake Graphics. You’ll be glad you did. I keep telling Holly’s she’s the next Mary Engelbreit, Susan Branch, and Debbie Mumm all rolled into one.

If you like scrapbooking, be sure to subscribe to A Sprinkling of Samples, which shows what ‘bookers have done with Eat Cake stamps. So creative, and a feast for the eyes.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

I finally get to write about something I’ve been wanting to get to since January. Now that my quilts for the new book are finished and safely arrived at the Martingale offices, I can actually pick up my head and look around!

Before the Road to California show in January, I received a very nice invitation from Darlene Christopherson, esteemed appliqué artist and Marketing Developer for the Pellon Quilt Division. Pellon was having a booth at the show, and Darlene invited designers to come by and receive a sample of Pellon’s new Legacy brand battings.

Naturally, I was happy to do so. I was presented with a sample pack of 15 different battings. Wow, that’s a lot of styles! I’ve been itching to stitch up some samples to share on the blog. What came to mind are some ancient appliquéd hearts that have been marinating in unfinished-land for you wouldn’t believe how many years. Let’s just say that when you see some of the fabrics you may take a trip on the hot tub time machine back to the 80s. Apparently when I was a young green quilter I thought I would appliqué a heart out of each fabric in my stash, onto bleached muslin. Well you can imagine how long that lasted. Sigh, the naiveté of youth.

Gentle quilters, I didn’t take the time to hand quilt any of them, just whizzed them up on the Bernina with some swirlies. Some of the swirlies are more “interesting” than others and I make no claims about my machine quilting. Sorry you can’t feel these But I hope there’ll be some useful information here.













I did the poofy poly and wool ones too, though these probably aren’t the styles you’d choose for machine quilting.



And last but not least, how about this dramatic back batting?


I like a low-loft batting myself, and all of the first 12 were fine and dandy for what I do. It’s very interesting the different fibers used… you can choose from cotton, poly, linen, flax, bamboo, soy, rayon, and blends of more than one. When I first started quilting there was Mountain Mist and Mountain Mist. We have so many choices now!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

whimsiesMary Lou Weidman is one of my most favorite admired quiltmakers and authors. Her Whimsies & Whynots: A Playful Approach to Quiltmaking has been on my bookshelf for years.

And so it was with great pleasure that I received a copy of Mary Lou’s latest book Out of the Box: Unleash Your Creativity Through Quilts from Martingale & Company as our featured appliqué book for this month.


Mary Lou’s quiltmaking style is one of riotous, colorful fun, personal meaning, and brave and fearless fabric choices. (It was through her that I first noticed and learned to appreciate the color “cheddar.”) This book is an inspiration to anyone who is willing to be inspired, and Mary Lou writes at length about the process of discovering your inner artist, inviting play and discovery, and listening to yourself instead of to your friends and/or critics.

Every day you have at your disposal the ability to think big, think colorful, think happy, think with large imaginative images, think clever, think expressive, think funny, think lofty, think about the past, think about the future, and think things that no one but you can think of. You have the ability to think ‘out of the box’ and to share your wonderful thoughts and your imagination with others in the form of art, in this case, quilts.

How different is that from the quilting rut of choosing colors and fabrics that “go” with our living rooms, of fretting over “perfect” precise blocks, of fearing the quilt police so that our childlike creative voices are stifled?

What is out of the box? “Push the lid open and jump out!” says Mary Lou, and she gives us a checklist of 24 sample items to test our position in relation to the box. After administering this self-test I discovered that I am not quite out LOL, but I can peep over the lid.

This book holds quite a bit of wisdom, more reading and thoughtiness that your average quilting book I’d say. It’s a process book rather than a product book. I really appreciate that approach. When I’m in my booth at quilt shows, I’m often asked, “How long did it take you to make that?” or, “How long would it take to learn to do that?” Wow, that’s a really product-oriented type of thinking. I want to reply, “Does it matter, if you’re enjoying yourself?”


Mary Lou emphasizes the need to think and daydream, and this struck a chord with me as well. Often, what happens to me during shows is that when I have some down time… slow periods on the show floor, or upon waking up too early in the morning… I seize a pen and paper and write down long list of thoughts that flood into my brain. The inspiration and energy that comes from being at a quilt show turns on a tap for me and I love it when the daydreaming flow of creativity starts. Mary Lou says we need to set aside time for this every day to doodle, think, and imagine.
(Yes, you really can find a half an hour each day.)


There’s a list of creativity stoppers to watch out for (like, ‘there is only one right answer’), pages and pages of inspiration exercises and sources found in our everyday lives, how the author shops for fabric, a section on words in quilts, and lots of information on color. How about being shown the eight styles of fabric! This was an eye-opener for me and something I especially enjoyed.

Then there’s an extensive gallery of the author’s quilts and short-story quilts made by her friends and students. Martingale has done their usual fantastic job on the photography… kudos Brent Kane!!! The quilts burst from the pages. Mary Lou finishes up the book by talking about the making of short-story quilts and how you can derive them from your own life. She shares “secrets” of scale, theme, focus, design elements, drawing, creating patterns, and also shares her own methods of appliqué. Borders, quilting, finishing, and embellishing (‘the icing on the cake’) are also included.

Out of the Box is quite a pep talk and an energizing boost! If you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. (U.S. and Canada only.) Tell us why you need this book in your quiltmaking life!

The winner will also receive a copy of my book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes. Thank you Martingale!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts is a designer friend of mine in Calgary. Recently, she put out the most darling pattern called Hoot-mon!

Hoot-mon pattern by Kim Jamieson-Hirst

I love this perky little family of owls.

“Hoot-mon,” according to the urban dictionary, is Scottish for “Yo dude!” That makes me laugh. My grandmother was Scottish, however I don’t remember her using this expression. I guess she just wasn’t that hip. It does convey to me the sense of Canada being part of the Commonwealth.

And how’s this for cute?

Hootie stuffy front cover final

They’re stuffies!

We’re giving away a copy of Hoot-mon! to a lucky winner, so leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, February 22, to enter the draw. Tell us why you like owls!

Coming up on the blog… revisiting thread topics and a look at Tile Quilt Revival.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

This month’s book review is the brand-new title from Susan Taylor Propst, Another Season of Beautiful Blooms: Appliquéd Quilts and Cushions.


Inspired by the gardens and countryside of England and Europe, this book brings fresh floral designs to appliqué enthusiasts. Each of nine flower designs includes a full-sized block pattern and instructions for both a pillow and a wall hanging—in two different colorways—providing 18 projects in all.


In the intro Susan says, “These designs are great for hand appliqué, but can also be done with fusible appliqué. One of the best things about appliqué, and flowers in particular, is that the result doesn’t have to look exactly like the pattern. Flowers are quite varied, so relax and enjoy the appliqué.” Here here!

This gorgeous book is filled with photos of the cultivated gardens and wild countryside that give the author inspiration. The front matter includes information on choosing appliqué fabrics, backgrounds, and borders, then moves to the appliqué process. Susan uses the overlay method for positioning, and uses freezer-paper templates on the back of the appliqué fabrics. Step-by-step instructions and illustrations take you through her process in detail. Unit appliqué and bias stems are also covered. Then there are some really great general instructions for making wall quilts and cushions.

On to the flowers! So beautiful. Petunias (as seen on the cover), Poinsettias, Black-Eyed Susans, Cherry Blossoms, Lilies, Tuplis, Bougainvillea, and more! Each one detailed and realistic, yet designed to avoid difficult stitching.

If you like floral appliqué, you will love this new book. Martingale and Company has provided a copy for a drawing, so leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, to be eligible to win.

Beautiful-BloomsAnd guess what? I also have Susan’s first book in the series, Beautiful Blooms! The lucky winner will get both books! That’s a whole lotta floral appliqué.

U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

A note to those subscribed to the blog by email: To leave a comment, you’ll first need to click over to the blog itself. Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the Comments link. Leave your comment there to enter the drawing.

Until next time (with some exciting news),
By Kay Mackenzie

At the Road to California show earlier this month, I was directly across the aisle from the Superior Threads booth. What a fantastic location!

I was on the lookout for The Thread Guy and Mother Superior, aka Bob and Heather Purcell. I was sure I would recognize them from their appearances on The Quilt Show.

When the opportunity presented itself, I approached Bob and said, “Mr. Bob Purcell?”

He looked at me with a little bit of that “deer in the headlights” look (like is this someone I’ve met and I can’t remember her?) but I quickly explained how his fame as The Thread Guy had preceded him. I told him about what an appliqué enthusiast I am (gesturing toward my booth as evidence) and that I had been using DMC 50-weight 2-ply cotton for years. I asked him whether Superior’s MasterPiece would be like an equivalent.

The answer was yes, and it’s long-staple Egyptian-grown cotton, which makes it, well, superior! I told him of my appliqué blog and how I liked to supply information to other appliqué enthusiasts, and he generously presented me with a fantastic goody! A rainbow of MasterPiece threads in a collection of prewound bobbins! Yippee! A little bit of 36 colors!

Later in the show, Heather came over and said, “I know you like Bob better.”

“Well,” I replied, “he gave me thread.”

“But I want you to try this,” she said, and handed me a rainbow of polyester threads in a collection of prewound bobbins. Wow!

“Now I know that you’ve only used cotton,” she went on. “But just try this poly thread and you will never go back. And then, you will like me better.”

superior-bobbinsCotton on the left and poly on the right. The “Frosted” part of the cotton name came about because Superior did a collection of threads for the Piece o’ Cake gals, and donut, kinda self-explanatory. I can only conjecture about how they came up with Holy SuperBobs.

What a thread windfall for an appliquér. All those luscious colors at my fingertips… I can’t wait to try out each kind, for hand and machine appliqué, and file a report!

thread-compThe cotton MasterPiece thread feels and looks very comparable to the DMC. The poly thread is even finer than the two cottons.


The Purcells are super-nice, down-to-earth people. I like ’em both. They care passionately about their product and they are very tuned-in to the needs and wants of the quilter. Just check the Education tab of the Superior website for gobs of information about the world of thread.

I also met quilter, designer, author, and sweetheart Cindy Needham, who was hanging out in the Superior booth helping shoppers with their questions about thread. I think I persuaded her to go a guest post for us about appliqué and her fabulous work with wholecloth linen quilts. Stay tuned!

More later,
By Kay Mackenzie

A couple of years ago I blogged about Sheril Drummond’s quilt Remembering Barbaro.

Last October at PIQF she had the most amazing, huge butterfly quilt called “Flights of Fancy.”

Flights of Fancy by Sheril Drummond

Flights of Fancy by Sheril Drummond


I checked Sheril’s blog Serendipity and was delighted to learn that she is now offering patterns and on-line classes to help others achieve the stunning look of her quilts. While you’re there be sure to send virtual scritchies to the Cavalier King Charles spaniel :).

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Got home on Monday afternoon from Road to California, tired but happy. The show was beyond fabulous. I met many amazing folks, got some new products to try out, and will write about everything in the fullness of time.

In the meantime, head over to Darcy Ashton’s blog, where you’ll see all the projects from her new book of appliqué patterns Horsing Around, which is just about to come out!

Sigh. I love horses.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Happy New Year appliqué enthusiasts!

Hey is anybody going to Road to California later this month? I got a call just a couple weeks ago offering me a spot as a vendor and I said yippee! If you’re going to be at this fabulous quilt show and conference in Ontario, California, in two weeks’ time, please come by and say hello! I’ll be in 806.

matqSharon Pederson is a Canadian quilter whom I’ve met a couple times, most recently when she came to give a talk at my guild. If you ever get the chance, be sure to go to one of her lectures because it is a highly amusing experience. Sharon’s book Machine Appliqué for the Terrified Quilter is intended for quilters who (like Sharon in a former life) “refer to appliqué as the A word.”

Sharon says that her book is for those who are attracted to appliqué but feel that life is too short to do hand work. Learning that she could appliqué by machine was what it took to make her a total convert! I’ll throw in my 2¢ worth and add that even if you like hand work, it’s great to throw more techniques into your appliqué bag of tricks.

rose-quiltLots of introductory information is given about fabrics, threads, needles, sewing machines, and stitches. Then Sharon takes you step-by-step through two methods: invisible machine appliqué, where the edges of the appliqué are turned and the stitches are unseen, and fusible appliqué, where the edges are raw and the stitches are visible. Reverse appliqué is also covered.

Sharon gives lessons on a variety of machine stitches, including the satin stitch, narrow zigzag, and decorative stitches, plus how to manipulate them in interesting ways. Great closeup photos accompany this information.

stained-glassThe projects in the book are mostly small and manageable, because after all, “you might be just a little bit terrified about the prospect of machine appliqué, so why further terrorize yourself by trying a queen-size project first?”

If you’re more of a visual learner, you might be interested in the DVD, a separate item. A sample lesson from it is available for viewing on the Martingale website.

Whether you’re terrified or not, this is one great resource for those interested in machine appliqué!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

Artful Appliqué by Jane Townswick

“Having been a die-hard patchwork fan for many years,” begins Jane in the introduction, “I thought there was very little reason for appliqué quilts to exist — until Nancy Pearson’s “Techny Chimes” stopped me dead in my tracks.”

I’m right there with you on that one, Jane. Here’s a page from my inspiration scrapbook. That’s Techny Chimes on the lower right.


“Beautiful hand appliqué is as individual as a fingerprint,” Jane continues.
I really appreciate this sentiment of encouraging individuality and de-emphasizing the need for exact copying and perfection, which IMO takes away from the pleasure of the work.

In the book Jane presents many unusual (to me) and innovative techniques for creating motifs — partial stitching, modified cutwork, and unit construction. (Just goes to show how different brains work differently.) These methods enable tiny, rich details that still have turned edges.

The appliqué information also shows how to achieve precision where precision is important, and individual, artful results where precision is less important.

Leaves don’t have to be green, did you know that? I know that, but I mostly forget it when I reach for my fabrics. You’ll see some stunning results in the book’s gallery of quilts where the quilters have reached past the green box.

The gallery includes many beautiful quilts made by Jane and her students. The author then includes 16 appliqué blocks, each one with complete skill-building instructions. It’s easy to see why this one is still in print after nine years, it’s a classic.

artapp2Artful Appliqué II: Introducing Scrapliqué and 12 New Floral Designs

I can tell from the cover that the floral designs are even more free-form, natural, and detailed. Never fear, Jane takes you step-by-step through her way of mastering this realism. She does advises beginners to consult one of her previous books or another reference book for the basics of appliqué.

In this book Jane introduces Scrapliqué, a technique for creating mosaic-like fabric compositions for your motifs without having to stitch tiny pieces together. There’s also information on unit appliqué, where you can stitch an entire flower before stitching it to the background. Jane explains several advantages to this strategy.

The book has sections on color blending, free-form stems and branches, and a unique way of stitching sharp points. There’s a gorgeous gallery of quilts and 12 floral blocks with step-by-step instructions and photos. You’ll find anemone, camellia, iris, lady’s slipper, pansies, sweet peas, and more! All so detailed you wouldn’t believe it.


Martingale recently published an interview with Jane on their blog. Be sure to go and read that for more information on the artist.

Happiest holidays to you!
By Kay Mackenzie

Have I got a good one to show you this time! It’s Mimi Dietrich’s classic, Baltimore Basics: Album Quilts from Start to Finish.

baltimore-basicsWhat a delight for the appliqué enthusiast! Mimi, a Baltimore native and lifelong resident, is an authority on this amazing quilt form that has hooked so many of us on appliqué.

Mimi begins by presenting food for thought in planning your quilt, considering options, making decisions, and getting organized. This is not your quick-and-easy type o’ deal. These are more like thoughtful, measured, long-range projects that you should enjoy all along the way.

Next comes a great idea — printed layout mockups! You can photocopy the block thumbnails, cut them apart, and try them out in several pre-printed arrangements to see what you like best. Very cool.

Then there’s a whole beautiful section giving fabric yardage and cutting instructions for a wide variety of sizes and settings. Mimi really helps you design your own quilt.

After giving information on fabrics and supplies, Mimi takes you step-by-step through several methods of preparation for hand appliqué. She encourages you to try them all to see which is your favorite. Then comes detailed information on hand stitching, plus sections on the stems, circles, baskets, and bows that we see so commonly in Baltimore Album. Since Mimi also knows dimensional appliqué, she throws in folded rosebuds and ruched flowers.

Then, of course, there are the 12 beautiful block patterns reminiscent of old, each one accompanied by a color photo of the stitched design.


The book ends with how to sew your blocks together, how to make appliquéd borders, and quilting and finishing your big or little masterpiece.


Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie

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